Monday, July 21, 2014

Stomping Out the Man Flu

This is my secret weapon. Its what I make if I ever want to comfort someone via the belly. So my sharing this with you... makes you pretty stinkin' special.

I learned how to make chicken noodle soup when I was still crushing pretty hard on my husband, before we were officially "together." He got sick for the first time in forever, and was....well, acting like boys do when they get sick.

My granddad had given me a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for Christmas that year (what I wouldn't do to know where the heck that thing went!), and when I learned my hunk-a-burnin-love wasn't feeling well, I went home to make him some soup from my BHG cookbook... as soon as I got out of seventh hour.

Its been a favorite of his ever since, because to him, food is love. I think he realized I was head-over-heels for him when I went out of my way to make this, then ride the bus to his house with a giant pot of soup - and that feeling remains. So I could make it every week, and he just smiles and gobbles it up.

In the past year or so, I've started occasionally adding dumplings to the soup instead or rice or noodles. My mom made chicken and dumplings when I was little and I remember picking out the dumplings and scarfing them down. I could have sustained life on those things. I'm a total starch-o-holic.

I'll start by giving you my basic recipe for chicken soup. This is a very hearty soup, almost a stew. I include rice/pasta in the recipe, and the starch from the rice or pasta (since we don't rinse it) thickens the broth - it is very filling! If it's dumplings you want, the broth will be more like a broth - liquidy. I suggest omitting the rice/pasta if you're going with dumplings - there's enough starch in the dumplings, trust me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pay Attention to the Fluffy One

Disclaimer - if you are squeamish, I'm warning you now! There are no photos, but there is speak of gross things!
K, so I love my dog, Moose. My kids love my dog. My husband secretly loves him, as well.. but since he's a girly poodle-dog, I'm not sure he'll fully admit it. Moose is possibly the most awesome dog... maybe ever. I struggle to love people this much, sometimes ... just because humans can be so disloyal and hurtful, then you have a fluffy, mildly nappy little prancing pup at home who wants nothing more than to jump on you, snuggle you, and kiss your face. Um, yes please.

He is also possibly the lowest maintenance dog I've had. As my friend says, "Moose is a trooper, he survives solely on 12 calories a day!" He eats very little, has close to zero health problems (he does have an occasional ear infection due to his floppy ears - he has medicine for it) and has had the same toy since he was a tiny puppy and still loves it. 

I take regular care of him - he's neutered, I get flea/tick prevention for him every year (buying in bulk saves some cash), renew his microchip subscription annually, care for his teeth, get him groomed, and keep him up to date on shots like a "responsible" pet owner.

But sometimes... even with the best care available... things happen with our animals. They're called "emergencies," and I swear, veterinarians are banking on them happening. So Thursday morning, when my big boy woke me up to tell me he was bleeding from his neck, I FUH-REAKED OUT.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chilli. Just Chilli.

Once upon a time, we lived on a military base. There, we had a man-neighbor. He once made my family chili. I asked man-neighbor for the recipe, so he showed me a piece of paper. Listed on it was cans, packets, and jars of stuff mixed into a crock pot.

Are. you. serious.

So being the food snob that I can be, I wanted to duplicate the flavor, but eliminate the processed food items and make it from scratch.

"1 lb ground turkey."
First item of business - change ground turkey to organic, grass fed ground beef. It just makes me happier.
"1 packet McCormick chili powder."
I went to the grocery store and looked on the back of one of the packets. Minus the MSG and preservatives, I think I could combine paprika, cayenne, cumin, bay leaves, salt, and pepper all by my big-girl self.

"1 can diced tomatoes."
I have knives and a cutting board for those... What's "a can," like, a cup's-worth?

"1 can of pinto beans" + "1 can refried beans."
 So... one's just mashed pinto beans? I got this. I can do beans. Shewt, I'll even throw in some black beans for texture variation.
"1 can Contadina tomato paste."
Okay, I could probably make this, but they sell organic tomato paste at my most favoritest store in the world, so I won't get too picky. I'll give man-neighbor some credit on this one. One day I'll get the guts to make my own tomato paste. Until then, cans it is.

"1 bell pepper."
Can do. I used a sweet red pepper and it was a bigger hit with the family, so either/or, I suppose!
"1/2 onion, diced."
Psht. Why not throw the whole onion in there?